The flight path took us down the Black Sea coast, over the toy tankers to the sparkling blue Bosphorus and then obligingly swung over the Asian side, past the colourful cranes of Kadikoy and tiny Topkapi and just like that I was back.
It was as if I had never left.
The lady who cleans the mosque saw me with my suitcase and asked me where I had been (or, perhaps, where I was going). Either way, my answer was met with disapproval and she left, presumably to feed the cats.
My favourite restaurant was there, busy and bustling. My favourite cafe was shuttered, but the kitty was to be found and cuddled on the same stretch of street. The friendly man in the corner store was there with a big smile and a wave. Ali the security guard was there. His smile changed to a frown when he heard how long I was staying. “Problem,” he said.
It was amazing to see familiar places again as if for the first time through the eyes of my friends. And it was amazing to discover new places, because Istanbul never fails to offer new sights down an alley unexplored, new views from a different hill, and new delights in the bright sunshine and under the navy night sky.
“Some people do come back,” wrote Merve when she checked us in at the meyhane.
It was great to be back.
Photo gallery by Bust It Away Photography